May 2009 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of May 2009.
- Longshot Mine That Bird Wins Kentucky Derby (May 2): A 50–1 longshot, Mine That Bird, ridden by jockey Calvin Borel, wins the Kentucky Derby. The team took 2 minutes 2.66 seconds to finish the 1.25 mile race. It's the second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history. Borel won the Derby in 2007 as well, with the horse Street Sense.
- Maine Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage (May 6): Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signs a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, despite his earlier position against the law. The governor cites a desire to uphold constitutional rights as his reason for signing the bill. The law will not go into effect until this summer, but opponents vow to petition and overturn the law. Baldacci supports the people's right to decide.
- Iran Releases Jailed American Journalist (May 11): Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist arrested in Iran in January, is released from prison. She was arrested on charges of spying for Washington and initially sentenced to eight years in prison, but her sentence was reduced to a two-year suspended sentence. She is allowed to leave Iran immediately, if she desires.
- U.S. Soldier Kills 5 Comrades on American Base (May 11): An American soldier being treated at a counseling center in Baghdad kills 5 fellow servicemen. The shooter, Sgt. John M. Russell, is serving his third tour in Iraq, and had been ordered recently to undergo psychological counseling and relinquish his gun. The shooting occurred at Camp Liberty, a large American military base.
- Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Fired (May 11): Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is fired and replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. McKiernan has been the leader in the war-torn country for less than a year; Defense Secretary Robert Gates claims McKiernan brought too conventional an approach to the war and the Pentagon wanted a more innovative leader.
- Obama Picks New Director of C.D.C. (May 15): President Obama announces his choice for the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. Frieden is currently the New York City health commissioner and is a specialist in infectious diseases. He will take office next month.
- Rachel Alexandra Wins Preakness (May 16): Rachel Alexandra, ridden by Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, wins the Preakness by a length. She is the first filly to win the race in 85 years.
- Obama Announces Stricter Emissions Regulations (May 18): President Obama announces new, stricter regulations on auto emissions and mileage standards, which will go into effect beginning in 2012. The regulations are similar to the ones currently in place in California.
- Senate Passes Bill to Restrict Credit Card Practices (May 19): The Senate votes to pass stricter regulations on the credit card industry, in a bill that includes making agreements easier to understand and treating customers more fairly. The bill passes with a 90–5 vote in the Senate, following a 357–70 vote in the House.
- Obama Nominates Sotomayor as Supreme Court Judge (May 26): President Obama announces his nomination of New York federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Justice David Souter announced last month his intention to retire at the end of the current session, leaving a opening in the Court. If confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
- California Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage (May 26): The California Supreme Court upholds the ban on same-sex marriage, solidifying the vote made by California residents last November. The 18,000 same-sex couples who were married before the ban went to effect are still legally married, however. The state still allows civil unions.
- Reknowned Abortion Doctor Killed in Church (May 31): George Tiller, a doctor famous for being one of of a few physicians in the U.S. who performs late-term abortions, is killed while in his Kansas church. He is shot while handing out bulletins in the church foyer. A suspect is arrested soon after the shooting and will be charged with murder, say police.